The Smithtown Town Board approved a $103 million budget for 2013, taking $7.3 million of rainy day funds to minimize the impact on homeowners' taxes at Tuesday's town board meeting.
The Town of Smithtown's $103 million budget represents a 2.4 percent yearly spending increase. It will raise property taxes by $46.83 for the average homeowners whose property is assessed at $5,500.
Superintendent Patrick Vecchio said one of the single largest costs increases in the 2013 budget was the $1.8 million for the town's pension and hospitalization insurance.
On Tuesday, town board members made an extensive list of changes to the supervisor's preliminary expected increases in revenue and minor departmental cutbacks helped keep the overall budget relatively level.
Under the 2013 budget, assistant town attorney Martin Simon will receive a $10,000 salary increase, receiving about $70,000 per year, approximately one year after his hire date. Other significant salary raises incorporated in the budget include a $10,000 raise for Traffic Safety Director Mitchell Crowley, who has worked 6 years for the town, and a hourly increase for senior planner Peter Hans.
"I agree with those three raises, but the others were added by town board members," Vecchio said.
The supervisor said Simon was given a raise after gaining a year of training and experience while working as the town's prosecuting attorney. Crowley has worked hard to earn Smithtown between $6 million to $7 million from various governmental agencies for local traffic improvements, according to Vecchio.
The 2013 budget does not make any cuts to town services or propose any layoffs, unlike the budget approved by the neighboring Town of Islip.
In order to keep taxes down, Smithtown elected officials agreed to take $7.3 million from the town's $28.5 million in reserve funds. While less than the $9 million taken out of the town's reserves in 2009, this move will use up approximately 25 percent of the "rainy day fund".
The majority of the tapped reserve funds, $3 million of the $7.3 million, will go towards Smithtown's general fund. Another $1.8 million in reserves will be put towards balancing the residential waste district's expenses.
"This will not be sustainable unless the economy changes and more revenue starts coming in," Vecchio said. "You have enough to go through 3 - 4 more years. The economy will change and revenue will increase, the question is when."
One concern Smithtown officials must face in the future is keeping enough of the projected $21.2 reserve funds to maintain the town's AA credit rating with Moody's.
The supervisor said he suspects the town may have a small surplus at the end of 2013 based on the approved budget, but any remainder could be eaten up by the town's tab for Hurricane Sandy cleanup or other unexpected expenses.